My poem on the African Cup of Nations 2013

Here’s a new poem I wrote for the BBC World Service to mark the opening of the African Cup of Nations, hosted this year by South Africa and defended by Zambia, last year’s unlikely winners. Hope you enjoy it.


The African Cup of Nations
Is boxing disguised as football
Every year there’s a rematch.
Last time, after jabbing their way through the early rounds,
Humble Zambia uppercut everyone;
Now, they are the punch each country sees coming.
Ding, ding:
A whole ring of sixteen continental contenders in South Africa
Who all want their belt back.
The World Cup was only a warm-up;
Yes, that tournament was global
But these rivalries are personal,
More bitter than Tottenham
Versus Arsenal.
So let’s go, Togo;
Let’s go Ghana, Cape Verde, Niger,
Nigeria, Algeria,
Ethiopia, Tunisia,
Let’s swing our limbs till the referee tells us it’s time to give it up;
Let’s go Burkina Faso,
Mali and Morocco,
DR Congo, Angola, Ivory Coast –
Let’s go up against the hosts
And the reigning champions
For this is the African Cup of Nations
And only one will get to stand in the sun,
Arms raised,
To a standing ovation.

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